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The story

Sunshine Finance believed Mary-Ann owed it about $5,000.  Mary-Ann contacted us after receiving a number of telephone calls, letters and one personal visit from Sunshine Finance about the debt.  Mary-Ann said she had not borrowed any money from Sunshine Finance and that the debtor must be her cousin, Marianne.  Mary-Ann and Marianne had similar names, including the same surname, and were born within days of each other.  However, Mary-Ann said she had been living in Australia for the last 15 years and could not be Sunshine Finance’s debtor.



Sunshine Finance insisted Mary-Ann was its debtor, providing all the information submitted in support of the loan application, including a passport in Marianne’s name.  Sunshine Finance checked Mary-Ann’s Facebook page and with various family members and was satisfied it was pursuing the correct person for a legitimately owed debt.

Mary-Ann complained that Sunshine Finance was unreasonably pursuing her for a debt she did not owe.


FSCL’s review

We asked Mary-Ann to give us a copy of her passport or birth certificate.  Mary-Ann declined, initially saying she did not have a passport or birth certificate.  Later Mary-Ann asked for more time to locate these documents, but was unable to do so. 

Mary-Ann gave us a copy of her Australian drivers’ licence with a different birthdate to the birthdate on the passport provided by Sunshine Finance.  Mary-Ann did not think she should have to give us any more identifying documents.



We carefully considered all the information Sunshine Finance had collected connecting Mary-Ann to the debt.  We were persuaded that on balance, it was more likely than not that Mary-Ann was Sunshine Finance’s debtor.  However, we said that if Mary-Ann was prepared to give us a copy of her passport we would reconsider our view.

Mary-Ann was not happy with our decision, and withdrew from the process.